Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19 / Matthew 8:5-17
One of the most profound expressions of faith is the when we pray. The act of prayer shows to others who we believe in and what we believe in. And in a way we also tell ourselves who we believe in and what we believe in.
But as much as prayer is a profound expression of faith, it is also an examination of faith. Because it is in prayer that our faith is put to the test.
Often we have heard people ask "Why is God not answering my prayer?" or "What's the point of praying if God does not listen to my prayer?"
Hence, it can be said that prayer is a profound expression of faith, as well as a critical examination of faith.
In the gospel, we heard of the centurion coming up to Jesus and pleaded with Him for his servant.
But it is also not an ordinary request. Even though Jesus offered to go and cure the servant, there is no guarantee or any probability that the servant will be cured.
But the faith that the centurion had in Jesus is really quite amazing and astonishing. It even astonished Jesus that He had to say "I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this."
The centurion believed in the authority of the word of Jesus. He himself had soldiers under his authority and he was under the authority of others. So he understood and he knew the power of the authoritative word.
The centurion might not have the religious faith of those around him, but he believed in the authority of Jesus, and he believed that just a word from Jesus would be enough to cure his servant.
In times of illness and pain, prayer is a profound expression of faith, and at the same time it is also a critical examination of faith.
Questions like "Will Jesus cure me of my illness?" or "Will Jesus give me strength to carry the cross and be able to bear the pain?"
The prophecy of Isaiah states that "He took away our sicknesses and carried our diseases for us". That prophecy was fulfilled and will always be fulfilled. The question is do we believe it.